...

My Running Game

This was originally posted to my Google Plus account but I am cross posting it here per the request of several people who are not on Google Plus.

So, I’ve taken up running again after a break this summer. I feel bad for taking the break but I’m one of those people who sweat profusely when exerting even the tiniest of effort anytime the temp is above 75 degrees. About the only thing I hate more than sweating is heat so, there lies the reason (excuse) for the break.

That said, one of the reasons I love running is that it is one of the few ultimate minimalist sports. Assuming you have use of your legs, you literally have everything you need to do so. You don’t need any further equipment to run. You don’t even need clothing. You might get funny looks or arrested running naked and barefoot but that does not mean you can’t.

That said, it does help at least a bit to have the right gear. Because I have had a few people ask (or give me their opinions) I thought I would mention what I use, why, and how I’m getting back into the running game.

For shoes, I swear by my Newton Momentum trainers. These are designed to be used with the Natural Running technique developed by the company’s founder and outlined in his book of the same name (on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/nzkrTr and highly recommended). Also good for those that use the Chi running technique. These are light, strong, and allow for a feel similar to what one would get running barefoot. Plus, you get less comments on the loud colors that you would wearing crazy looking Vibram Five-Fingers.

I chose an all-terrain shoe because I knew when I got them last year that there was still plenty of winter yet and that means running in ice and snow.

For clothing I have a bunch of Nike Dri-Fit hand me downs from a friend who shrank out of the larger size thanks to his regimen. No matter how you feel about big corporate Nike, the quality, look and design (i.e. how it works) is impressive. That said, I’ll need to stock up on some cooler weather gear soon and will likely branch out to other brands if I find good deals.

Getting back into running, I’m using the official Couch-to-5k program from Coolrunning. Though I have had previous running experience, I have found this program to be good for forming a running habit which is really the first goal. I fell out of mine so I need to develop that again.

I’m also using the official Couch-to-5k iPhone app to prompt me and track my progress. Finding it good in actual use so far even if the interface leaves a lot to be desired.

Finally, someone asked what I was using for headphones and if I use a band for my iPhone.

For headphones, I use the Sennheiser PX 200-II i which I purchased based on a recommendation post from Marco Arment. They are fantastic. Lightweight, sound great, with excellent sound insulation.

For the iPhone, I just hold my iPhone. Clench it in one hand. Which may be insane but it works for me for now.

My Running Game

So, I’ve taken up running again after a break this summer. I feel bad for taking the break but I’m one of those people who sweat profusely when exerting even the tiniest of effort anytime the temp is above 75 degrees. About the only thing I hate more than sweating is heat so, there lies the reason (excuse) for the break.

That said, one of the reasons I love running is that it is one of the few ultimate minimalist sports. Assuming you have use of your legs, you literally have everything you need to do so. You don’t need any further equipment to run. You don’t even need clothing. You might get funny looks or arrested running naked and barefoot but that does not mean you can’t.

That said, it does help at least a bit to have the right gear. Because I have had a few people ask (or give me their opinions) I thought I would mention what I use, why, and how I’m getting back into the running game.

For shoes, I swear by my Newton Momentum trainers. These are designed to be used with the Natural Running technique developed by the company’s founder and outlined in his book of the same name (on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/nzkrTr and highly recommended). Also good for those that use the Chi running technique. These are light, strong, and allow for a feel similar to what one would get running barefoot. Plus, you get less comments on the loud colors than you would wearing crazy looking Vibram Five-Fingers.

I chose an all-terrain shoe because I knew when I got them last year that there was still plenty of winter yet and that means running in ice and snow.

For clothing I have a bunch of Nike Dri-Fit hand me downs from a friend who shrank out of the larger size thanks to his regimen. No matter how you feel about big corporate Nike, the quality, look and design (i.e. how it works) is impressive. That said, I’ll need to stock up on some cooler weather gear soon and will likely branch out to other brands if I find good deals.

Getting back into running, I’m using the official Couch-to-5k program from Coolrunning. Though I have had previous running experience, I have found this program to be good for forming a running habit which is really the first goal. I fell out of mine so I need to develop that again.

I’m also using the official Couch-to-5k iPhone app to prompt me and track my progress. Finding it good in actual use so far even if the interface leaves a lot to be desired.

Finally, someone asked what I was using for headphones and if I use a band for my iPhone.

For headphones, I use the Sennheiser PX 200-II i which I purchased based on a recommendation post from Marco Arment. They are fantastic. Lightweight, sound great, with excellent sound insulation.

For the iPhone, I just hold my iPhone. Clench it in one hand. Which may be insane but it works for me for now.

Thank You, Steve

Beatrix, iPhone, and I
I share such moments with my daughter too often to count. She and I crowded around an iPhone, an iPad, an iMac. Watching movies, dancing to music, learning, growing.
Without his vision, none of these moments would exist the way they do today.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for each moment like this.

I Won’t Died

Earlier this evening, when Beatrix arrived home from a play date, she bounded enthusiastically through the door as usual and wrapped her arms around me. My wife, having heard the news, told Beatrix “You should give Daddy an extra big hug.”
“Why do you need an extra big hug Daddy? What happened?”
“I lost a good friend, honey. He died.”
“Why he died?”
“Sometimes people get sick. Too sick to keep living. So sometimes they die.”
She leaned back in my arms. Took a good look at my face. Caressed it on either side with both hands. Then threw her arms around me and squeezed me long and tight. Into my ear she whispered, “I’ll be your friend. I won’t died.”
She is insanely great.

Simplicity, Clutter, Compassion, & Love

Many regular readers know that, when it comes to simplicity and clutter, my wife is quite my opposite. Her idea of organization is generally to sort piled things into more piles. These piles then sit right where they are waiting for something to happen and that something is generally a mystery that results in nothing happening. Then, there is also the matter of a three year old little girl who’s belongings are strewn about as well and… Well…

Thus, it is not unusual for one to walk into the home of Mr. Minimal Mac and find things not so minimal at all. 

That said, it is a real struggle for for me that I largely keep inside. Because, getting any cognitive or creative work done in such environs is very difficult for me. I have become pretty good at ignoring it for a time or finding a little spot in the house where I can keep some semblance of order (or ignorance). But, even that becomes beset on all sides and impossible to contain eventually.

It is at this point where I finally snap, reach a fever pitch, and spend all night cleaning. This happened just this past Saturday night. After a long day out and about and a very enjoyable evening with friends I came home and realized that I could not even answer a single email, let alone start another full week, with the clutter that had slowly begun to consume every surface. And since the burden appears to be one I bear alone in my household it is generally I who must lay said burdens down and put them in their proper places.

Now, to those in a similar situation as mine, please keep in mind that to those others in our life, the clutter may have cognitive value to them in the same way simplicity and order do for you. For instance, those piles may represent a sense of belonging and place to them. Seeing all this stuff they have makes them feel comfort in knowing it is not lost or missing. It actually may be a representation of how productive they are. So productive in other areas of life that they don’t have the time to clean and organize. It may also be overwhelming to them as well, so much so that they are paralyzed by it. 

All I’m saying here is that our goal of uncluttered simplicity is likely just as strange and wrong and foreign to those who are the opposite as they are to us. Compassion and acceptance are required on both sides. The (often imperfect) path I attempt is to allow my wife to see that it is I who is willing to take responsibility and ownership for my needs in this area, doing the work to see that those needs are met, while allowing her to be who she is without judgment.

This is not always easy, I know. I struggle with it daily. Then again, are these things ever easy? Perhaps they should not be. The work is proof of it’s continued worth. And, she is worth so much to me that such work seems like a bargain.

A “Real” Computer

One of the many benefits to having an iPad, an iPhone 4, and 11 inch MacBook Air is the swiss army knife of portability options at your disposal. Before leaving the house, I take inventory of my day and decide which of these tools I might need. Because of the extreme ease of portability of the options at hand, making the choice for any combination or all does not mean too much extra burden. That said, why take anything with me I don’t absolutely need?
I often leave the house with nothing but my iPhone, this is not abnormal. What is unusual is that, when taking inventory of my needs, I determined that all I really needed was a keyboard. I was going to a quick lunch meeting and then to do some writing. Sure I could bring my iPad or MacBook Air but, the only thing I really needed to get the writing done was a keyboard. So, I threw one in my bag and here I am.
Between the iPhone, the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, and Hog Bay Software’s PlainText I have all the tools I need today. I have this little plastic card stand I got somewhere (don’t remember where) that just happens to hold the iPhone in landscape at the perfect viewing angle. I’ve got the headphone plugged in to listen to some ambient music while I type. Outside of one of those folding Bluetooth keyboards I have seen, I can’t think of a more perfect fast and light computing solution.
I think it is easy to think of the iPhone (or iPod Touch for that matter) as something less that a “real” computer. That, somehow, one can’t get real work done or that it could never be a true replacement for a full size machine. I, personally, don’t believe that and often seek ways to see exactly how much I can get away with just using the iPhone. In fact, I have even written the first draft of one of the chapters in my book on the iPhone using the onscreen keyboard. Was it the perfect solution? Maybe not but it was the resource I had at hand so that made it the perfect one for me at the time.
I have heard tales that, for some households in other countries, the smartphone is the only “computer” they own. They are inexpensive, portable, easily sharable with other members of the family and perfectly capable for many tasks. While some may scoff at such a challenge, I feel it is really no challenge at all. The real challenge is overcoming our comfort, convenience, limits and pre-conceived notions.
Just more food for thought.